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Drinking alcohol, even a light or moderate amount, increases the risk of several common cancers, according to a leading group of cancer doctors.

In addition, researchers said that in 2012, approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths globally could be attributed to drinking alcohol.

While the ASCO does suggest strategies for cutting back on drinking, it also advocates for temperate use of alcohol, rather than recommending giving up drinking altogether.

This is the first time the organization has taken a stance on alcohol and cancer, but it is not the first time the research has found strong links between the two.

The latest review of the earlier studies on the connection between alcohol and cancer imparted in the Journal of Clinical Oncology discovered that around 3.5 percent of all cancer related deaths can be assigned to alcohol consumption.

When it comes to light-to-moderate drinking (defined by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as up to one drink a day for women, up to two for men), the American Society of Clinical Oncology noted that it can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer in women, and esophageal cancer for men and women. Heavy drinkers who consume more than eight drinks a day have a 63 percent increased risk of female breast cancer because alcohol increases levels of the female sex hormone estrogen. "It's a pretty linear dose-response". The study's authors said their findings indicated "a public health crisis", especially with the increase in problem drinking among its more than 43,000 participants.

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Since, heavy consumers of alcohol meet much higher risk throat and mouth cancer, liver cancer, cancer of the voice box and to the lower scale, colorectal cancers. She added that this can also cause confusion because of the various types of alcohol available.

"The story of alcohol has been quite consistent and has been peeled away like an onion over time, and we're continuing to learn more about the mechanisms involved", Dr. Gapstur said. "Don't start.' This is a little more subtle".

"And with colon cancer, alcohol seems to interfere with the way folate is absorbed, which is a known precursor in the path to developing cancer in the colon".

"That puts some weight behind this", she said.

Heavy alcohol use could increase the risk of cancer, pictured is a customer drinking an IPA beer at a brewery February 7, 2014 in Santa Rosa, California.


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